Easy New England Clam Chowder in 6 Simple Steps

This easy New England Clam Chowder is rich and creamy and is made without bacon. Also known as white clam chowder or Rhode Island Clam Chowder, this hearty soup is sure to please the “chowdah” lover on your list!

New England Clam chowder is easier to make than you may think! This homemade version is unbelievably creamy and full of clam flavor! This basic recipe is very versatile, too — and can accommodate many add-ins like salty bacon, Portuguese smoked chourico, celery, and carrots. The choice is yours!

A bowl of creamy white clam chowder on a striped blue towel. A small wooden spoon sits at the bottom left and saltine crackers are at the top right.

 Clam Chowder Ingredients and Tools:


  • Chopped Clams – Fresh or canned both work well. We use leftover clams from a Clam Boil.
  • Clam Juice [paid link] – Fresh or bottled both works well. We generally reserve the drippings from a clam boil which we freeze for later.
  • Potatoes – Russets or Yukon Gold potatoes work well for boiling.
  • Onion – Sweet Vidalia or Spanish yellow. 
  • Butter – Salted or unsalted both are fine.
  • Milk (or cream) – Cream adds a rich creamer mouthfeel to the chowder but whole milk may be used as well.
  • Flour – I use all-purpose flour but gluten-free flour or cornstarch would also be fine as the thickener.
  • Salt & Pepper – to taste to season the soup base.
  • Oyster Crackers – optional
  • Parsley – Freshly chopped Italian flat-leaf parsley is my favorite.
A bowl of New England Clam chowder with a spoonful about to be eaten.


The ingredients for New England Clam Chowder.

How to prepare New England Clam Chowder without Bacon:

** You can find the full recipe ingredients and instructions on the printable recipe card below.


  1. Saute the onions
  2. Add the clam juice [paid link].
  3. Cook the potatoes until tender.
  4. Add the thickener.
  5. Add the milk (or cream) and chopped clams.
  6. Garnish as desired with parsley and crackers.
  7. Serve with fried clam cakes.
A finished pot of creamy New England Clam Chowder being ladled out of a blue Dutch oven cast iron pot.

Homemade Clam Chowder Recipe FAQs:

How Much Is A Portion?

This recipe makes about 8 cups of chowder. A typical serving is about 2 cups. Therefore, the nutritional calculation is based on a 2-cup serving.

How To Store Leftovers?

Store leftovers refrigerated in a covered air-tight container. Leftover chowder is good up to 4-days. 

How To Reheat Leftovers?

Reheat leftovers in a small saucepan [paid link] over medium-low heat until heated through and bubbling.


New England clam chowder 14

New England Clam Chowder

Ronda Eagle | Kitchen Dreaming
This easy New England Clam Chowder is rich and creamy and is made without bacon. Also known as white clam chowder or Rhode Island Clam Chowder, this homemade rich & creamy chowder is sure to please the "chowdah" lover on your list!
5 from 5 votes
Prep Time 10 minutes
Cook Time 25 minutes
Total Time 35 minutes
Course Soup
Cuisine American
Servings 4 servings
Calories 332 kcal


  • Dutch Oven with lid
  • Ladle


  • 2 tbsp Butter
  • 1 cup Onion , diced
  • 0.5 cup Celery , diced – optional
  • 0.5 cup Carrots , diced – optional
  • 2 tablespoons All-purpose flour [See Note 1]
  • 3 cups Clam juice
  • 1 pound Potatoes , peeled, diced into 1/2 inch cubes
  • 2 cups Chopped clams
  • 3 cups Whole Milk
  • 1 tsp Salt , to taste
  • 1/2 tsp Ground black pepper , to taste
  • 1 tbsp Parsley. freshly chopped


  • In a heavy stockpot or Dutch oven, melt the butter and then add the onion (celery and carrots if using) and cook, stirring occasionally, until the onion is translucent about 5-7 minutes.
  • Meanwhile, drain the clam juice from the chopped clams and combine with enough bottled juice to equal 3 cups of liquid.
  • Add the potatoes and simmer until tender, about 10-15 minutes.
  • Prepare the thickner: Make a paste with the flour and 2-3 Tbsp water. Add to the stock pot and simmer for 2-3 minutes. Whisk to remove lumps.
  • Add the clams and milk (or cream) to the soup base. Simmer over medium heat for 1-2 minutes.
  • Season to taste with salt and pepper. Garnish with Oyster Crackers and freshly chopped parsley.
  • Serving Suggestions: Serve with our New England Clam Cakes.


  1. Flour is used as the thickener. You will add this with enough water to make a thick paste. Add it into the stock pot and whisk to combine. If gluten-free, instead use corn starch or gluten-free flour.


Serving: 10ozCalories: 332kcalCarbohydrates: 44gProtein: 13gFat: 12gSaturated Fat: 7gCholesterol: 38mgSodium: 1276mgPotassium: 879mgFiber: 4gSugar: 15gVitamin A: 708IUVitamin C: 22mgVitamin D: 2µgVitamin E: 1mgVitamin K: 1µgCalcium: 267mgFolate: 53µgIron: 4mgZinc: 1mg
Tried this recipe?Let us know how it was!

11 thoughts on “Easy New England Clam Chowder in 6 Simple Steps”

  1. I grew up in Rhode Island and miss chowder and clam cakes. This recipe is wonderful. Going to make it again for a big group of people in New Jersey who need a little Rhode Island comfort food!

  2. Your recipes for chowder and clam cakes are almost identical to mine. Grew up in R.I. And made this so frequently and now for our children every time we get together. Thanks for sharing.

  3. I made the Clam Chowder for Super Bowl Sunday . It was a big hit and gone by halftime. It was the best I have had in a long time. will be making again real soon. Thank you for posting.


Leave a Comment

Recipe Rating

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.